Mulloy's cinematography feels very modern and sleek. The film has a high-budget feel, but I imagine the real budget was surprisingly small, and working in Cuba will no doubt present endless challenges to the director's artistic vision. The technique of montaging-in seemingly unrelated shots into fairly simple scenes definitely builds up a complex and rich background portrayal of Cuba, deeply aesthetic in nature. I'd say this technique works pretty well.
The film's real strength, however, is in its acting. All three lead characters have a brilliantly simply and very human chemistry, which Mulloy captured expertly. This is definitely a film about human relationships, not politics, and so appeals to the heart instead of the head. The plot works on a very simple premise, but that seems fitting. This is a very Cuban film - intellectually unsophisticated, but rich in heart and down-to-earth observations. Earthy, if you will.
The bold decision to set sail in the middle of the film splits it into two parts: a very colourful and vibrant portrayal of life (both good and bad) on dusty Cuba, and a bluey-grey abstract half which is both open and claustrophobic. In both parts, it is the acting which really prevails. The pacing was always good - with the film remaining relatively constant, as opposed to a fast-slow-fast-slow etc affair.
I left the cinema feeling as though Mulloy had not set out to impart a message, but rather to observe and tell a story. The film is surprisingly apolitical in its stance, given what it portrays and the subject matter itself. I'd say this film is classic storytelling mixed with a rich insight into Cuba. Maybe I'll go there for myself one day to see what it's like!